Yacht at Rest, Mind at Ease
by Edwin Schoon
For many yacht owners passaging or crossing an ocean is a real challenge as it comes with many risks and expenses. Yacht transport becomes an alternative when the destination and cruising (maritime) is more important than the passaging.
Using a yacht transport company has various benefits compared to sailing under your own keel, including less wear & tear on the yacht, safety on more perilous journeys, and time gains. A transport vessel can move a yacht faster and safer than any crew. Sailing yachts can even leave their masts up during transport, and motor yachts consume no fuel while underway.
The advantages of yacht transport
Time - Why waste time sailing your yacht from A to B when there are so many fabulous cruising destinations worldwide? Shipping your boat saves you the time of an ocean passage.
Safety - Piracy and waterborne crime are growing problems on some ocean routes. Engaging a professional company to transport your yacht eliminates that risk.
Manpower - Why struggle to find a full crew to sail your yacht across an ocean when you can leave it to professional transporter, saving you both money and hassle?
Wear and tear - Sailing your yacht across oceans risks damage and increases the wear and tear on her structure, fittings and engine. Shipping your yacht instead of sailing or motoring across can save a lot of money in repairs or replacements.
Most used and secured ways of yacht transport are float on, float off and lift on, lift off methods.
Float On, Float Off
This method uses uniquely semisubmersible ships that thanks to a process of ballasting/deballasting closely controls the depth of the ship. For loading, each yacht will have a pre-determined location in the dock bay due to length, draft and other factors. The transport ship is submerged where the bay is actually flooded deep enough for yachts to enter from aft and clear the deck and keel blocks. With fenders in place, yachts power into the deck area and are tied off with dock straps to prevent movement. Once all yachts are loaded, a controlled deballasting slowly raises the ship. During this process, divers are positioning heavy stanchions along the yacht’s hulls to keep them positioned as well as ensuring proper placement on the keel blocks as the process continues. Once fully raised and the deck is clear, the ship’s crew adds additional hull stanchions for ocean transit which are welded in place and secures all straps. When offloading, the process is essentially reversed. Workers remove the ocean stanchions, the deck is flooded until all yachts are floating and divers go below to remove the final stanchions. Upon notification, each yacht can then power out of the deck bay, free to cruise towards their destinations.
Lift On, Lift Off
This method uses multi-purpose vessels that can handle any type of vessel including those on trailers. Lift-on, lift-off means one can call on various ports to pick up yachts for transport. Loading on a ship operates very much the same way as a travel lift does with yachts being lifted directly from the water and being landed on purpose built multi-adjustable cradles. The exact location on deck is depicted on a detailed CAD stow plan. The loadmasters makes sure with help of divers that the lifting slings are in the exact location in light of the centre point of gravity of the yachts. And when the yacht is safely put in its cradles on deck, strong lashes are welded to the vessels surface to robustly secure the yachts during transport.
The semi-submersible ships travel mostly on fixed schedules over popular routes such as to and from the US, Europe, the Caribbean, and Pacific Ocean destinations. In theory, multi-purpose vessels can be arranged between any two ports and at any time.
For more information about methods of yacht transportation visit the websites of the worldwide leaders in yacht transport DYT Yacht Transport (www.yacht-transport.com) and Sevenstar Yacht Transport (www.sevenstar-yacht-transport.com)